MT. VERNON, Mo. — Over the years, we’ve seen some intense battles in the Big 8, and at the center of a lot of them is Mt. Vernon. Things took a turn for the squad last year, however, after COVID-19 and other injuries plagued the team. Now, they’re ready to put that all behind them and put themselves back on top.
The squad will feature a lot of fresh faces this season. With 30 freshman and only four seniors on the team, it may seem like that would be hard to build around, but that’s not how they see it.
Mt. Vernon head coach Tom Cox says, “It’s just a small senior class, number one, small group of senior boys as well, but the guys we have are good players. Those guys are all a really good nucleus to build around.”
Senior center Dominic Dawson knows there’s pressure on him to lead such an underclassmen-heavy team. So his solution?
“Jump up and down and go crazy, get them going, and then they’ll go from there and it’s just amazing,” Dawson says.
The Mountaineers are determined not to waste that energy. Last season they went 5-6 and finished in the middle of the Big 8 East, the first time they finished with a losing record since 2015. This year, they plan to be back on top.
Cox says, “Sometimes it’s easier to get to the top than to stay there. Webb City and Lamar are great examples of teams that have done that successfully. I’m disappointed that we fell from the top tier down to the middle and even finished with a losing record. We’re working our tails off not to let that happen again, we know that’s gonna be tough with a young team and only four seniors, but I have confidence in these guys.”
And the guys have confidence in each other. Knowing they can’t rely heavily on experience, they’re shifting that focus to team bonding.
Dawson says, “I want to get close with the team. I mean, you see in movies and everything, family. You build your team around like a family. I think we’re really getting there, and we need to know that we can trust each other with that, and I think with having that trust we can get somewhere.”
Mt. Vernon will be playing a district championship rematch to open their season this year, as they’ll be facing Cassville on Friday, August 27 at 7:00 p.m. To view their full season schedule, click here.